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In 1970, a group of RIT students formed the Student Safety Unit (SSU) for the purpose of providing students with off-hours non-emergency transport to Rochester health care facilities. In 1980, the SSU was renamed to the RIT Emergency Medical Unit (EMU). After increasing its campus mandate, the EMU acquired its first ambulance in 1981 and was certified by NYS Department of Health as a transporting ambulance agency. In order to better define its role within the RIT community, in 1982, EMU was renamed to RIT Ambulance (RITA).



RIT Ambulance’s first ambulance was a 1980 Ford Type II Wheeled Coach. This ambulance remained in service until 1983, when an electrical fire destroyed the vehicle. Another Type II Ford was purchased, with this ambulance remaining in service until 1991. A 1991 Med-Tech Type II ambulance was in service from 1991-1996, which was replaced by a 1996 Type III Wheeled Coach ambulance. This vehicle remained in service until 2006. The current ambulance was purchased in 2015. All of RITA’s ambulances have carried the designation 6359.

RIT 6359 and RATT

RIT RATT and 6359

In 1989, a 1981 Type I Ford modular ambulance was donated to RITA, and was utilized as a command/special operations vehicle. The RATT, as it was affectionately known, carried the designation of Car 63. This vehicle was replaced with an SUV in 2001, and renamed Defib 63. Defib 63 was replaced in 2011 with a Chevy Tahoe. Defib 63 is used to provide first-response service when the ambulance is on another call or out of service, or for scene command purposes.

RIT Ambulance receives state funding

New York state Sen. Jim Alesi, center, with a plaque designating him "honorary member" of the ambulance corps. Alesi was instrumental in securing state funding for the RIT Ambulance program.

Until 1991, RIT Ambulance was headquartered in Ellingson Hall, with the vehicles attached to outside electrical shorelines to provide heating and battery power. Today, RITA is located on the A-level of the Student Health Center, with a bay provided to store the ambulance out of the inclement weather. Defib 63 is parked outside the base, where an electrical shoreline provides heat and battery power.

Prior to 2010, both RIT Public Safety and the Monroe County 911 Emergency Communications Department (ECD) dispatched RIT Ambulance. RIT Ambulance is now solely dispatched by ECD. RIT Ambulance membership currently consists of student, faculty/staff volunteers, and RITA alumni. As an agency that values student leadership and development, RIT Ambulance provides leadership opportunities on both an Executive Board and Operations Staff.

Current Vehicles


RIT 6359

2013 American Emergency Vehicles Ambulance

The current 6359 is a 2013 American Emergency Vehicles type III ambulance built on a Ford E-450 chassis from Speciality Vehicles. Inside, the compartments are stocked with BLS equipment for bleeding control, airway management, oxygen administration, and immobilization. In addition, our ambulance carries a full complement of basic medications including Epinepherine, Aspirin, Albuterol, Naloxone (Narcan®), oral glucose, and oxygen. The vehicle also is equipped with the Whelen Howler™, which provides deep, low frequency tones that are able to penetrate other vehicles, alerting inattentive drivers and pedestrians. Furthermore, the vehicle is equipped with a Stryker Power-PRO™ XT cot and the Stryker Power-LOAD™ system.

Defib 63

Defib 63

2011 Chevrolet Tahoe

Defib 63 is a New York State certified Basic Life Support First Response and Command vehicle built by Professional Vehicle Solutions. Defib for short, our "fly-car," is a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe designed for quick response with an emergency light package and siren package utilizing the Whelen Howler™. Defib 63 is fully stocked like 6359, including an AED, and is utilized when our ambulance is unavailable and for Command Officers to respond to scenes when needed for command. In addition to the normal basic supplies and medications, NIMS compliant triage tags and MCI supplies are also on board.

Quick Information

Emergency: 911 or (585) 475-3333
Phone: (585) 475-2605
Fax: (585) 475-7788
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We are always looking for highly-motivated volunteers: Information on joining RIT Ambulance. You can also talk to one of our members by visiting our base located in Building 23A, the Student Health Center, on the bottom floor.

Need an ambulance for your event? All standby requests are booked through RIT's Event Management System

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Winner of the NCEMSF Website of the Year Award for 2011